When you stroll the streets of the Waterford National Historic Landmark in Waterford, Virginia, you’ll step back in time. First settled in 1733 by Quakers from Pennsylvania, it is an extraordinary collection of 18th- and 19th-century buildings set within 1,420 acres of rolling farmland located just one hour from Washington, D.C.
The village’s homes, places of business, and the rolling fields that surround them today look much as they did in the 19th century. With its rich heritage in furniture manufacturing, farming, Civil War actions, and African-American life, Waterford is a wonderful place to visit.
Waterford has a rich Civil War history. The village was an island of resistance during the war, when it sided with the Union despite its location in Confederate Virginia. Waterford’s Quaker residents set aside their pacifist beliefs and stood up a cavalry unit to defend their country — the only Union Army unit raised in the state.
Waterford was within the part of Loudoun County known as the Underground Railroad route. It was also a haven for free blacks. The Village’s African-American schoolhouse, the Second Street School, is used today for educational programs. The John Wesley Community Church, built by its black congregation in the late 1800s, is open for special events.
Waterford is a National Historic Landmark
In 1970, the Secretary of the Interior determined that the Waterford Historic District possessed national significance and designated it a National Historic Landmark. It is the highest designation of historic importance possible in the U.S., and places it on par with Mt. Vernon and Monticello—a rare honor.